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Work Bed of Charles X
Department of Decorative Arts: 19th century
Bed of Charles X
© 1994 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet
Brother of Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, Charles X ascended the throne on the death of the latter in 1824. For the Château des Tuileries, he had the woodcarver Brion produce a state bed of the same size as the bed of Louis XVIII in order to reuse its silk hangings. It is a "lit à la duchesse", a canopy bed with the tester is attached to the wall and not supported by bedposts. The large and richly decorated headboard bears the arms of France, flanked by two helmets and surmounted by the crown.
Silk hangings of exceptional quality
It was the outstanding quality of the silk counterpane and hangings from the bed of Louis XVIII that ensured they were used a second time. They were woven by the house of Grands Frères in Lyon between 1817 and 1819, after a pattern by Louis de la Hamayde de Saint-Ange (1780-1860). These sumptuous and highly decorative hangings contribute largely to the value of the state bed. The blue colour of the silk velvet was dubbed "bleu Raymond", after the chemist who invented the new process by which they were dyed. The use of royal blue marked a break with imperial red and a return to tradition.
A regal bed
Designed in the style of the "Restauration", the carved and gilded wood frame is as richly decorative as the silk hangings. The sumptuous ornamental carvings include crested helmets, flower garlands and scrolling foliage surround the central shield bearing the arms of France. The rest of the decoration makes abundant use of heraldic fleurs-de-lis, natural fleurs-de-lis and acanthus leaves. Executed, like the silks, after designs by Saint-Ange, the bed was carved by Pierre-Gaston Brion (1767-1855), cabinetmaker and woodcarver by appointment to the Royal Furniture Repository, as a replacement for the bed on which the body of Louis XVIII had been laid out after his death.
A state bed
The bed of Charles X was placed in the former bedroom of Napoleon I, on the first floor of the Château des Tuileries, in the Bullant Pavilion. Standing on a dais, it was intended as a bed for ceremonial purposes rather than for sleeping. Under the "Restauration", as under the Ancien Régime, the royal bedchamber remained a place of symbolic significance.
BibliographyUn Âge d'or des arts décoratifs, 1814-1848, Exhibition, Paris, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 1991, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1991, pp. 57-9.
Alcouffe Daniel, Dion-Tenenbaum Anne, Lefébure Amaury, Le Mobilier du musée du Louvre, vol.1, Faton, 1993, pp. 322-3.
Dion-Tenenbaum Anne, Les Objets d'art, le XIXe siècle : guide du visiteur, Paris, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1999, pp. 28-30.
Durand Jannic, Alcouffe Daniel, Le Louvre. Les Objets d'art, Scala Éditions, 1995, p. 118.
Havard Henry, Dictionnaire de l'ameublement et de la décoration depuis le XIIIe siècle jusqu'à nos jours, vol. III : "De Lanthin à Ozier", Paris, Maison Quantin, n. d., p. 398.
Pierre-Gaston BRION (1767-1855)
Bed of Charles X
Château des Tuileries; bed of Charles X, enlarged for Louis-Philippe
Walnut, carved and gilt
H. 2.20 m; W. 2.40; D. 2.10 m.
Deposited by the Mobilier National,1965
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